Michael Annett, driver of the No. 1 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet for JR Motorsports, will miss this Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway following an MRI which revealed a stress fracture in the Iowa driver’s right femur. Josh Berry, who ran 12 races for the team in the No. 8 Chevrolet this season, will sit in for the recovering Annett this weekend.
The MRI revealed the fracture on Monday, and surgery to repair it will take place on Tuesday. Following this weekend’s event at NHMS, the series will have two weekends off due to the Tokyo Olympics, and doctors have said the three-week recuperation should allow Annett time to resume his duties when the series races again on Aug. 7 at Watkins Glen International.
Annett, 35, was forced to miss last Saturday’s NXS race at Atlanta Motor Speedway due to the injury. Austin Dillon raced the Pilot Flying J-sponsored Chevrolet to an 11th-place finish in that event.
In his 15 NXS starts this season, 12 of them in JRM’s No. 8 Chevrolet, Berry has earned a victory at Martinsville Speedway, four top-five and eight top-10 finishes.
JRM had requested a medical waiver for Annett from NASCAR regarding his status for the NXS Playoffs. Following the Atlanta race, Annett stands 11th in the playoff field. NASCAR later approved the waiver making Annett eligible still for the playoffs should he hold still hold onto the spot inside of the top 12.
Right now, he’s +59 in points but that will obviously go down since he’s going to miss Saturday’s race. He didn’t lose much ground last weekend, so I suspect he will stay far enough up to come back at Watkins Glen and still be just fine.
With that said, how does this affect the playoff standings?
What changes is, if Annett would have been removed, Jeremy Clements would have moved up a spot to 11th which moves (Riley Herbst) from 13th to inside the playoffs in 12th.
Clements would go from +54 to +56. Herbst would go from -54 to +2. That’s a 56 point swing for his favor.
Brandon Brown would then go from -56 to -2. Ryan Sieg would end up at -40 and Alex Labbe to -83.
See how this Annett ruling is huge? The playoff bubble goes from two points back up to 54 now which means the Xfinity Series field may be all but set as well.
The other factor is some are wondering why Josh Berry or Grant Enfinger didn’t receive waivers. Well, the only reason they didn’t was due to them missing races while being healthy. They just didn’t have rides for the races that they’ve missed. Annett has a ride and was planning on racing but an injury took him out. That seems to be the precedence. If you’re injured, you can get a waiver but if not, you must race in every event.